How I solved all my problems
What if there was one objective, all-encompassing solution to fix every single problem we have?
I believe there is.
Part I: Realign yourself
Problems like to put down roots. By the time we see the little shoots, it’s already amassed a big network in our unconscious brain.
I used to target the manifestations - the growing shoots - of my problems. For example, I tried to manage my time better with a calendar. But this made my productivity worse. I’m a free spirit! I like to work without restrictions!
What actually helped was getting rid of the uninspiring work and allowing myself to jump between tasks without guilt, as and when I felt like it. Problems are unique - no two people face the exact same problem, with the exact same mindset, and the exact same past that led them to the problem. Solutions are unique too. Calendars seem to work for everyone else (it feels like the #1 advice for productivity!), but keeping my day unstructured works best for me.
So, I believe that the first step to solving any problem is to figure out who you are. Get in tune with your unique self - your best self. They know how to solve the problem better than you.
As you start living in alignment with yourself, you’ll see that life goes much more smoothly. Problems are really just a symptom of solutions that don’t work for us - even when they seem to work for everyone else. Embrace your uniqueness, figure out who you really are. All your other problems will start to melt away.
ACTION: Get in tune with yourself
1. Drop what you hate
Get rid of the things you don’t like, stop doing the activities that don’t bring you joy. When you’ve removed everything you hate, you’ll be able to see what you love.
2. Write down three things that make you feel happy every day
Maybe the weather was really sunny, you saw a cute dog, or you executed something well at work. The little things matter too.
3. Force positivity
Turn negatives thought into a positive ones - even if you don’t believe it. Write “today will be a good day” on top of your to-do list. Fantasize about your dreams coming true.
4. Go on an adventure
Go for a walk without a destination. Travel! Relax.
5. Accept yourself without judgement
Keep an open mind. Question your beliefs without judging the answers. The truth about who your best self really is will stand up to any possible questions.
Part II: Overcome resistance
At the core of every problem is fear. Fear of tackling the problem and failing. Of not even being able to find a solution in the first place. Of being the wrong person for the job. And so on.
This fear manifests as resistance - resistance to transforming into our best selves.
Resistance is sneaky. For example, it made tense and irritable during difficult conversations, so the other person stops talking quicker. It’s told me that I’m not going to achieve this anyway, so why try? It’s even told me say yes to a night of drinking before an important meeting!
Fear of change is an instinct and this resistance is just as instinctive. Deep down, your inner self fears the transformation to your best self. So, it tests your commitment - maybe you hit your toe on the corner on your way to present a pitch and completely lose your focus, collapsing into mental rage instead (it happens to the best of us!)
But, once we are aware of this sneaky resistance, we can use it to our advantage. Because beyond the resistance lay my best self.
When I ignore my instinct to resist and instead, relax, I’m able to see the truth of the situation easily. What I should do is a lot clearer. My inner self is calm and focused.
It will certainly feel counterproductive in the moment - all your instincts are telling you to resist, ignore, move on.
However, the truth, i.e., the right answer for you, is always the most heavily guarded secret in your mind. You can only find it by lifting the veil of fear and resistance.
ACTION: Go where your resistance is
1. Find a quiet spot, get comfy, clear your mind
Meditating helps. Don’t pressure yourself, even 10s of meditation is better than none.
2. Talk to yourself about a problem you’re facing
Speak freely, you’re the only one listening. Focus more on the actual situation, less on potential solutions.
3. Pause when you feel fear
Resistance comes in many forms, but fear is the purest. What you fear the most is where your greatest resistance lies. Allow yourself to feel the fear without judging it.
4. If you feel anxiety, go back to the fear
Anxiety lies on top of fear. Peel it back. Listen to the anxious thoughts, acknowledge them without judgment, then tell your mind to “shhhh”.
5. Think about what would happen if your fears came true
Imagine all of the devastating consequences. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions that come along with it, without judgment.
6. Reflect on this experience
What makes you fearful/anxious, what you imagine the worst-case scenario to be, and what you feel because of it… These are aspects of your unique resistance. Think of them as parts of a whole, and reflect on what they could be telling you.
7. Acknowledge the resistance in your reflection
You may have thoughts like “this is not true…” or “this is not me”. You may feel angry, irritable, or even sleepy. Maybe you want to get up and do something else. This is also the resistance - acknowledge it.
8. Be kind to yourself
Don’t beat yourself up when you give into resistance. You’ll never run out of opportunities to try again, and sometimes, the bed is truly looking more comfy than usual…